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What do 2016’s most well-designed apps have in common?

(MARKETING NEWS) Taking a look at some of the winners, and there is only one word that jumps out at me…

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As you know, there are some well-designed apps out there. And there are some duds. As you read that, your mind probably took you immediately to apps on your phone that sit on both ends of the spectrum. The duds don’t matter much to Apple, but the good ones do, and each year they compete for the coveted shiny status which tells the word they’re one of the best. For 2016, Apple called out a handful of apps from task managers to fitness tools to games and made them winners.

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A look at some of the winners

It made me curious, with such a wide range of subjects in these apps – I mean, Lara Croft even – and an equally wide price range (free to 25 bucks!), do the winning apps have anything in common? I downloaded a few to do my homework.

First download: INKS. Yep, that’s in all caps. When you think of INKS, think of pinball meets adult coloring books. It’s beautiful and colorful and simple (one reviewer even calls it “minimalism in the design”). And even though I paid two bucks for this one, it still wants more money to level up and move ahead in the game.

Second download: Zova – Personal Trainer. This one was free – for a bit. It’s a very clean app with great photography and easy-to-follow videos. And based on goals you set, the app will even recommend workouts for you. There are so many workout apps out there, but the ease of use and simplicity of this one definitely makes it a winner. Do know though, after you’ve burned through the free workouts, you’ll be encouraged to move into the premium paid version of the app.

Third download: Auxy Music Creation. Also free. Not to get too deep into my psyche, but the fact that I never learned to play a musical instrument is one of my biggest regrets. This app makes me think that David Foster should be calling any moment to sign me to a record deal! The app is clean and simple, complete with a link to YouTube tutorials. It would actually be lots of fun on a long car ride, though it may make your fellow travelers a bit crazy after about 15 minutes.

So, what is the common thread?

When I look back at those three short reviews, there is one word that jumps out at me from each one: Simple.

As a user, I want an app that I can dive into immediately. I don’t want a cluttered screen. I don’t want to watch hours of how-to videos before I can level up or strengthen my glutes. I want the app navigation to be concise and easy to, well, navigate.

So I say to you, you future app-design award winners: Keep it clean, keep it uncluttered and keep it colorful. Maybe then you’ll win a shiny statue from Apple of your very own.

#2016BestApps

A native Texan, Summer Huggins serves as Account Manager | Client Support for Small World Labs, a Personify company. She is also an animal advocate, active in Austin's animal rescue community, and an amateur photographer. She wants to be a Rockette when she grows up.

Real Estate Marketing

Can you really fight back when social media traffic returns are diminishing?

(MARKETING) Missing out on social media traffic isn’t the end of the world, because there’s always room for improvement and course correction.

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Social media is a doubled edged sword – while its ubiquitous nature in the realm of marketing makes it impossible to avoid, a variety of caveats ranging from rising fees to government-imposed limitations on content have contributed to more than a few headaches.

The most recent entrant on the migraine list — a diminishing return on social media traffic — is sure to turn heads, but rest assured that you have some options at your disposal.

According to social media expert, Neil Patel, the bulk of social media advertising traffic (paid or otherwise) has seen a slight but consistent decline over the past few years. Chalk it up to whatever you like — consumer awareness, technophobia, a surplus of tinfoil hats — but the fact is that your social media ads are performing worse than they used to, and will continue to do so.

Fortunately, there are a few habits you can break in order to reverse this effect (if only temporarily).

The first thing you should realize is that common advertising trends which started out as successful strategies have become stale with age. These include things like constant video or photo uploads, frequent text posts, and links to your company’s blog; while these pieces of content should still appear on your social media accounts, they are no longer enough to keep your customers engaged.

“Engagement” is the key vocabulary word here. If your customers aren’t interacting with you or a member of your business in some format, they’ll be dissatisfied; even if the manner in which they interact is simply through an Instagram Live video or a Reddit AMA, you’ll notice an increase in traffic right away.

“But Jack, it’s completely asinine to expect a business owner to do a live Q&A session with any kind of frequency” you might say — and you’d be absolutely right.

To that end, using an automated chatbot to keep customers informed without tying up valuable assets in the meantime is probably your best approach. Most major social media platforms either have or support multiple chatbots, and Patel’s site shows a steady increase in the number of businesses using them anyway — don’t get left behind.

Naturally, you’ll need to keep uploading a variety of content, so letting customers see your beautiful face in a live video from time to time is still a good idea.

Other ways to increase customer engagement and conversion range from using SMS notifications to implementing social media platforms you wouldn’t usually consider (WhatsApp, anyone?), but the bottom line will always involve giving your customers a two-way avenue of communication.

Missing out on traffic because of antiquated practices isn’t the end of the world; if anything, it should be the beginning of a plethora of new practices for you and your company.

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Real Estate Marketing

The biggest reasons people are unsubscribing from your emails

(MARKETING NEWS) Sometimes promotional emails can cause us to purge our inboxes due to over-inundation. New data examines specific reasons customers unsubscribe from mailing listings.

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I recently registered my work email with a company that shall not be named in an effort to receive a 20% off coupon. While I received the coupon, I also found myself receiving somewhere around 10 emails per week from this company. But after a few weeks, I had no choice but to unsubscribe from this email listing. Though it did give me the option to minimize email settings, the overwhelming amount I already received was such a turn off that I unsubscribed completely.

This has happened time and again with countless other mail listings, and I know that I’m not the only one burdened with email after email. Apparently this is such a common occurrence that eMarketer was able to conduct a survey that complied the top reasons why people tend to unsubscribe from email lists.

The major reasons were broken down into 13 categories.

The additional reasons were as follows: 21% report that the emails were not relevant to them; 19% received too many emails from a specific company; 19% complained that the emails were always trying to sell something; 17%t stated the content of the emails were boring, repetitive, and not interesting to them.

Additionally, 16% unsubscribed because they do not have the time to read the emails; 13% stated they receive the same ads and promotions in the email that they receive in print mail (through direct mail, print magazines, newspapers, etc.)

Furthermore, 11% stated that some emails can be too focused on the company’s needs and not enough on the customer’s needs; 10% felt that certain emails seemed geared towards other people’s needs and not their own. Another 10% did not like the appearance of certain emails, stating that they were too cluttered and sloppy.

An additional 10% didn’t trust the email to provide all of the information necessary to make purchasing decisions. Finally, 1% claimed “other” reasoning as the main cause.

Fully 7.0% unsubscribed from certain email listings because they said emails did not look good on their smartphones. This is important for marketers to keep in the back of their minds.

Assess your email marketing strategy to ensure you’re fitting the needs of consumers, not just your own personal preferences. Data doesn’t lie.

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Real Estate Marketing

Researchers develop a font to help with reading retention

(MARKETING) Are you ready to market with a font that will be more memorable than any other (based on research)? Check out Sans Forgetica.

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sans forgetica font

Do you ever find yourself having just read an entire page of a book and having retained nothing? Then you have to read back through and see that none of it sounds remotely familiar?

We’ve all been there, and it’s easy to let your mind wander when doing something as solitary as reading. It can be frustrating because we double the time that we spend reading.

Well, I have two words for you: Sans Forgetica. For my friends within a history of Latin, yes, that does translate to “without forgetting.”

Sans Forgetica is a font that has been specifically engineered to help a reader retain the information that they’re reading. Say what?!

This was developed by researchers at RMIT University Behavioral Business Lab in Melbourne. The font name is a combination between Comic Sans and Helvetica, and the way the font is designed is that each letter is titled exactly seven degrees to the left, with various gaps drawn straight down the middle.

“This is the first time ever that specific principles from psychological theory have been combined with specific principles from design theory in order to create a font,” said Jo Peryman, chair of RMIT Behavioral Business Lab.

The font operates by convincing the reader’s brain to work. Being that the font is visually unconventional, the reader has to work hard in order to decipher exactly what it is seeing.

Much like how we can decipher jumbled words if they begin and end with the right letter (e.g. rdeanig), our brains can fill in the gaps in order to tilt the letters right side up. Because of this, your brain slows down to fully comprehend what it is seeing – making it easier for the reader to retain the information.

The issue that we often run into is that reading becomes such a flex of memory rather than a comprehensive activity. But, the researchers have had to be careful about how much work the brain will have to do to read Sans Forgetica, otherwise readers will become frustrated and likely give up.

If this catches on, this could be an amazing tool to implement in an academic setting, and can also be helpful with reports and presentations. Talk about productivity!

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